39 Cubans rescued by cruise ship in Caribbean Sea in custody of USCG
By Amber Stegall| May 12, 2014 at 4:55 PM CDT - Updated July 20 at 9:06 PM
CARIBBEAN SEA (WAFB)
Just two days after 39 Cubans were rescued by a cruise ship in the Caribbean Sea after being adrift for days, they are now in the custody of the United States Coast Guard.
On May 7, 2014, the Carnival Dream cruise ship altered its course to make a stop between Grand Cayman and Jamaica to help a small boat in distress. There were 34 men and five women on board, all from Cuba.
Carnival officials say the small boat had been adrift at sea for several days. Officials with the USCG say the Cubans were trying to get to the United States. Reports indicate the engine failed on the boat and it was taking on water.
"The Cubans were brought aboard the Carnival Dream and placed in the crew quarters, given medical assistance and food. The U.S. Coast Guard advised the ship to transport the refugees to Montego Bay, Jamaica," said Eric Agena of Denham Springs, LA, who was celebrating his honeymoon on the ship with his new wife.
Officials with Carnival say rescuing mariners in distress is a longtime tradition of the company and are extremely proud of the officers and crew on the ship for coming to the rescue of the group.
On May 9, 2014, around sunset, the Coast Guard arrived at the Carnival Dream cruise ship to take custody of the Cubans.
According to Denis Poupart of Slidell, LA, who was on the cruise ship at the time, they were near the Cuban coast when the transfer took place. "Earlier in the day, Friday, we rounded the extreme western coast of Cuba, and could see the white sand beaches and a lighthouse," he wrote.
Poupart says the transfer of the 39 Cubans to the USCG boat took about an hour.
Officials with USCG say the situation is an open law enforcement case and could not comment any further.